The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Conduct research using bioinformatics theory and methods in areas such as pharmaceuticals, medical technology, biotechnology, computational biology, proteomics, computer information science, biology and medical informatics. May design databases and develop algorithms for processing and analyzing genomic information, or other biological information.
Sample of reported job titles:
Bioinformaticist, Bioinformatics Scientist, Research Scientist, Scientific Database Curator, Senior Research Associate, Senior Scientist
Tasks | Technology Skills | Tools Used | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- Develop new software applications or customize existing applications to meet specific scientific project needs.
- Communicate research results through conference presentations, scientific publications, or project reports.
- Create novel computational approaches and analytical tools as required by research goals.
- Consult with researchers to analyze problems, recommend technology-based solutions, or determine computational strategies.
- Analyze large molecular datasets, such as raw microarray data, genomic sequence data, or proteomics data, for clinical or basic research purposes.
- Keep abreast of new biochemistries, instrumentation, or software by reading scientific literature and attending professional conferences.
- Develop data models and databases.
- Compile data for use in activities, such as gene expression profiling, genome annotation, or structural bioinformatics.
- Design and apply bioinformatics algorithms including unsupervised and supervised machine learning, dynamic programming, or graphic algorithms.
- Manipulate publicly accessible, commercial, or proprietary genomic, proteomic, or post-genomic databases.
- Direct the work of technicians and information technology staff applying bioinformatics tools or applications in areas such as proteomics, transcriptomics, metabolomics, or clinical bioinformatics.
- Provide statistical and computational tools for biologically based activities, such as genetic analysis, measurement of gene expression, or gene function determination.
- Create or modify web-based bioinformatics tools.
- Improve user interfaces to bioinformatics software and databases.
- Confer with departments, such as marketing, business development, or operations, to coordinate product development or improvement.
- Recommend new systems and processes to improve operations.
- Biology — Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
- Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
- Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Chemistry — Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
- Education and Training — Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
- Clerical — Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- Science — Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
- Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Mathematics — Using mathematics to solve problems.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Time Management — Managing one’s own time and the time of others.
- Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others’ reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
- Systems Analysis — Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
- Systems Evaluation — Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others’ actions.
- Instructing — Teaching others how to do something.
- Learning Strategies — Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
- Fluency of Ideas — The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
- Mathematical Reasoning — The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Originality — The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
- Number Facility — The ability to add, subtract, multiply, or divide quickly and correctly.
- Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance.
- Memorization — The ability to remember information such as words, numbers, pictures, and procedures.
- Perceptual Speed — The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
- Interacting With Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
- Communicating with Persons Outside Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates — Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.
- Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
- Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
- Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
- Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
- Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Developing and Building Teams — Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
- Monitoring and Controlling Resources — Monitoring and controlling resources and overseeing the spending of money.
- Coaching and Developing Others — Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
- Provide Consultation and Advice to Others — Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
Detailed Work Activities
- Develop software or applications for scientific or technical use.
- Prepare scientific or technical reports or presentations.
- Advise others on the development or use of new technologies.
- Analyze biological samples.
- Review professional literature to maintain professional knowledge.
- Develop technical or scientific databases.
- Research genetic characteristics or expression.
- Supervise scientific or technical personnel.
- Collaborate with technical specialists to resolve design or development problems.
- Advise others on business or operational matters.
- Train personnel in technical or scientific procedures.
- Electronic Mail — 100% responded “Every day.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 87% responded “Every day.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 88% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Spend Time Sitting — 81% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 86% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 78% responded “Extremely important.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 81% responded “More than 40 hours.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 88% responded “Every day.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 74% responded “Extremely important.”
- Telephone — 53% responded “Every day.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 45% responded “Very important.”
- Level of Competition — 48% responded “Extremely competitive.”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 38% responded “Very high responsibility.”
- Contact With Others — 36% responded “Constant contact with others.”
- Time Pressure — 35% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 35% responded “Important results.”
- Letters and Memos — 36% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 39% responded “Once a year or more but not every month.”
- Public Speaking — 42% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 33% responded “Not important at all.”
- Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 34% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
|Title||Job Zone Five: Extensive Preparation Needed|
|Education||Most of these occupations require graduate school. For example, they may require a master’s degree, and some require a Ph.D., M.D., or J.D. (law degree).|
|Related Experience||Extensive skill, knowledge, and experience are needed for these occupations. Many require more than five years of experience. For example, surgeons must complete four years of college and an additional five to seven years of specialized medical training to be able to do their job.|
|Job Training||Employees may need some on-the-job training, but most of these occupations assume that the person will already have the required skills, knowledge, work-related experience, and/or training.|
|Job Zone Examples||These occupations often involve coordinating, training, supervising, or managing the activities of others to accomplish goals. Very advanced communication and organizational skills are required. Examples include pharmacists, lawyers, astronomers, biologists, clergy, neurologists, and veterinarians.|
|SVP Range||(8.0 and above)|
Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
|Not available||Bachelor’s degree|
|Not available||Post-doctoral training|
|Not available||Master’s degree|
Interest code: ICR
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- Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
- Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
- Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Independence — Job requires developing one’s own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
- Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
- Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
- Recognition — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.
Wages & Employment Trends
Median wage data for Biological Scientists, All Other.
Employment data for Biological Scientists, All Other.
Industry data for Biological Scientists, All Other.
|Median wages (2020)||$41.00 hourly, $85,290 annual|
|Employment (2019)||44,700 employees|
|Projected growth (2019-2029)|
Slower than average (1% to 2%)
|Projected job openings (2019-2029)||3,600|
|Top industries (2019)|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2020 wage data
and 2019-2029 employment projections
“Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2019-2029). “Projected job openings” represent openings due to growth and replacement.
Sources of Additional Information
Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries.
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